A closer look at Adesanya vs. Silva
When the fight between Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva first got announced, you may have thought something along the lines of where did this fight come from? Or, how does this fight make sense?
But after giving this matchup some thought and allowing the news to sink in, what seemed like a crazy matchup now looks like a sensational fight between a pair of great strikers that will probably determine the next contender at the middleweight title against the winner of Saturday’s main event between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum.
The narratives for this fight are as polar of opposites as they could possibly get.
On one side you have the young and extremely gifted fighter in #6 ranked Israel Adesanya. A New Zealander who will enter the Octagon on Saturday with the local Aussie crowd firmly behind him as he looks to overcome one of the all-time greats in a fight that he hopes will be the final step before he gets a shot at the UFC gold.
On the opposite side of the cage, there is the small matter of one of if not the greatest fighter to ever set foot in the Octagon in Anderson Silva. The legend who at 43 years old is 14 years the elder of his opponent and is hoping to reclaim the seat on the middleweight throne one more time before he calls it a day on what has been an iconic career.
Despite the age difference, Silva will arguably be the biggest test that Adesanya has had to face in his short career. “The Stylebender” has a perfect 15-0 record (4-0 inside the Octagon) after dispatching all of his opponents in near flawless fashion, stopping 13 of the 15 opponents that he has faced.
“I don’t throw in hope, I aim and fire” is the best possible description of Adesanya’s unique fighting style, as described by himself after his last victory over Derek Brunson.
But despite the confidence and the cool demeanour, Adesanya has never stood across from someone with the skill set and experience that Anderson Silva possesses and the veteran cannot be taken lightly as he has plenty of incentives himself that will push him towards victory.
Anderson Silva is a pioneer of mixed martial arts as he holds the record for the longest win streak in UFC history (16) along with 10 successful title defences which puts him at number two of all time just behind Demetrious Johnson. There really is nothing else left to prove for the Brazilian, but he is more determined than ever to get back on top one last time before he hangs up his gloves.
Silva’s name will most certainly be in the GOAT conversation when it is all said and done but right now, that’s the last thing on his mind as he prepares for a fight in which a win will likely grant him his final shot at the belt that he once relentlessly defended.
“The Spider” has gone through a whirlwind of bad luck in his recent outings, suffering from four tough losses and a no contest in his last six fights. The sixth of those fights was a win against Derek Brunson almost two years ago to the day, and after taking time off to train and prepare for his last run at the title, Silva is ready to face the man that he influenced to start competing.
From a matchmaking standpoint, this is a fantastic fight. Two of the finest strikers on the planet squaring off with neither of them likely to look to bring it downstairs. One fighter chasing greatness and building his legacy. The other looking to go out on top after one hell of a career. The student and the master going head to head for the right to challenge for the UFC gold, this fight has fireworks written all over it.
Sports journalist currently based in CA, USA.